ESA comes to the UK

The ESA Ministerial has been happening this week and it sounds like most people are happy with the outcome. Final analysis a bit later. One interesting aspect however is the agreement to establish a new European Space Agency centre in the UK, likely at the STFC Harwell site just south of Oxford. Read more from NERC here or the BBC here.

The main focus is robotics, but will also include climate change research, although what this includes is still a little unclear. However it is likely to be connected to the ESA plan to provide long term records of some of the GCOS essential climate variables. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more on this as it emerges.

Rapidfire imagery

There’s a lot of free satellite image sources out there, so this will be one of several posts pointing you to a useful source of imagery that is only a click or two away.

The NASA MODIS sensor has been flying on two satellites since early 2000 and acquires visible images (amongst other data) with 250 metre pixel size. The MODIS Rapid Response System delivers this imagery within a few hours of collection.

Accessing it has been a bit of a hassle due to the interface, but they now produce real time subsets. So for many predefined regions, shown below, you can click and see the latest coverage for a particular day and scroll back through earlier dates. One such region covers the Antarctic Peninsula.



So below is todays image as an example. They are even kind enough to allow download as a georeferenced file so it can be simply dropped into most GIS systems.


So there you go. Free up to date imagery of the Peninsula, but with clouds. Enjoy.



There is a myriad of news and information related to remote sensing and Earth observation that is relevant to many of the activities at BAS. Working out who might find this information useful or interesting is tricky given the breadth of science and operations we undertake.

So in an attempt to improve distribution of such material, I’m going to begin using a blog. It’ll mean a little bit of effort on your part to look at and read it, but at least it’s all in one place.

The intention is to post items concerning remote sensing and Earth observation in the broadest sense, which I (or others) think may be relevant to BAS. So expect to see information about funding opportunities, new satellites from ESA, NASA and other space programmes, new datasets, relevant bits of research and observation, new initiatives and collaborations etc. I’ll try to keep ranting opinions to a minimum and since it will be visible externally I’ll obviously be following public sector guidelines on blogging.

I’m keen to get contributions from others and am happy to open it up to other authors. So if you wish to post to this blog, or come across something that you wish me to highlight then please get in contact.

If you simply want to follow, either bookmark the page or subscribe to the RSS feed. Of course comments are encouraged.

Many thanks,
Andrew Fleming